Raymond Lowry Thayer was born on November 16, 1886 in Sewickley, Pennsylvania. His father, Frank Curtis Thayer, was born in 1851 in Ohio. His mother, Grace Isadora Melbourne, was born in 1858 in Ohio. His parents married in 1874 and moved to Cleveland, Ohio. They had four sons, Ralph was born in 1875, Harry was born in 1877, Frank was born in 1878, and Raymond was born in 1886. The family lived at 355 Harkness Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio.
The father worked as an office clerk for the Railroad.
By 1903 Raymond Thayer was a student at East High School in Cleveland, and his three older brothers all worked as office clerks with his father at the railroad.
In 1908 he graduated Cleveland's East High School.
After high school Raymond Thayer moved to New York City to study for two years at the Art Students League at 215 West 57th Street. Two of the most popular teachers at the school at that time were George Bridgman (1865-1943) and Frank DuMond (1865-1951). One of the other students at the school was Lillian Seldon Lloyd. She was born 1886 in Virginia. Her father was an Archdeacon Dr. John J. Lloyd of the Grace Memorial Episcopal Church in Virginia. Her mother was Ella Hubbard Lloyd. Lillian Seldon Lloyd had finished high school and was the first student admitted to Sweet Briar College in Virginia. She attended the Art Students league for advanced art training.
Raymond Thayer rented a professional artist studio at 18 West 59th Street, which was only three blocks from the school.
He drew story illustrations for syndicated newspapers. In 1911 his illustrations appeared in The Washington Post.
On October 10, 1912 Raymond Thayer married Lillian Seldon Lloyd. The newlyweds moved to Van Buren Street in Hempstead, Long Island, NY.
On November 1, 1913 the artist's son was born, Raymond Lowry Thayer, Jr.
On June 5, 1917 the artist reported for draft registration during the Great War. He claimed an exemption as the "only person family support." He was recorded at the time to be tall, medium built, with green-gray eyes and brown hair.
In 1917 their second son John was born.
In 1918 their third son Francis was born.
On October 2, 1919 he joined as Associate Partner the Paul Wing Art Studio advertising agency at 30 Union Square in Manhattan.
On July 6, 1921 their daughter Virginia was born.
In 1922 he opened the Stoll & Thayer advertising agency with Charles Theophile Stoll (1893-1938) at 1482 Broadway. His partner was the father of the artist Gloria Stoll. Thayer also kept a private art studio at 139 East 27th Street for his freelance illustration business.
Raymond Thayer painted covers for Judge, Life, and Collier's Magazine. His cover painting and interior story illustrations also appeared in pulp magazines, such as Argosy, Gay Book, True Gang Life, Five Novels, and Blue Book.
In 1928 he opened the Thayer & Barreaux advertising agency with Adolphe Barreaux.
In 1929 the Thayer family moved to Cedar Gate in Darien Connecticut. His wife worked as a real estate broker and he made landscape watercolors of New England, which were exhibited nationwide and won several awards, honors, and critical attention. He was a charter member of the New York Artists Guild, along with Delos Palmer and James Montgomery Flagg.
By 1939 they had moved to 139 East 52nd Street in Manhattan, NYC.
In 1940 he created the The Mask for Exciting Comics, which was produced by Better Comics, a Thrilling Group publication.
In 1942 they moved to 242 East 48th Street in Manhattan. He also rented a separate artist studio space at 156 East 50th Street.
During WWII he was fifty-six years old, so he did not serve in the military. At the time of his draft registration he was recorded to be five-nine, 145 pounds, with blue eyes and brown and gray hair and a light complexion.
During the 1940s he illustrated stories for Blue Book and Open Road For Boys.
On May 17, 1955 he and his wife sailed on the S.S. Andrea Doria from New York to France for a summer vacation.
Raymond L. Thayer died at home in his New York City apartment on November 15, 1955 one day before his sixty-ninth birthday.
© David Saunders 2013